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PS5 Controller vs. Xbox Controller for PC: Which Is Better?

PS5 vs. Xbox controller PC

PS5 Controller vs. Xbox Controller for PC: Which Is Better?

Key Points

  • The Xbox controller has better battery life at around 20 hours compared to the PS5 controller’s 6-12.
  • The PS5 controller is typically more expensive than the Xbox controller.
  • There are more PC games geared for Xbox controllers than PS5 controllers.
  • Both the Xbox and PS5 controllers have great features.
  • Xbox controllers are designed to work with PCs that run Windows, but PS5 controllers may need to use a workaround.

If you’re a PC gamer, you’ve probably come across at least one title better played with a gamepad instead of a keyboard and mouse. That leads many to the PS5 controller vs. Xbox controller debate, which typically ends in frustration. While both controllers will work with PCs, one is the clear winner. 

PS5 Controller vs. Xbox Controller: Side-by-Side Comparison

SpecsPS5 ControllerXbox Controller
Manufacturer SonyMicrosoft
Released November 12, 2020November 22, 2013
WirelessYesYes
VariantsDualSense EdgeElite Series 2
Pricing$70-199$50-150
Best
PlayStation DualSense Wireless Controller
$70.95
  • PC/Mac/tablet compatible
  • Outstanding built-in microphone
  • Features excellent haptic feedback
  • Comes with adaptive triggers
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02/18/2024 03:42 pm GMT

PS5 Controller vs. Xbox Controller for PC: What’s the Difference?

Whether you’re debating purchasing a new controller for gaming on a PC or already have one lying around, here’s what you need to know when comparing the PS5 controllers vs. Xbox controllers for PC. 

Compatibility

The first thing you need to consider is the company behind the controllers. Microsoft makes the Xbox and is also the company behind Microsoft Windows. Sony is responsible for the PS5 controller and PlayStation consoles. Sony also manufactures laptops and PCs, but that’s where the similarities end.

As a Microsoft product, Xbox controllers are designed to work with PCs that run Windows. That includes older models along with new controllers for the Xbox X/S. Their controllers can sync up to PCs flawlessly through Bluetooth, and the operating system will automatically recognize them. 

When you try to sync a PS5 controller to a Windows-based PC, the results will vary. They are also compatible, but you will need to use a workaround and tools if you want full or even partial functionality. There are some exceptions depending on how you plan to use the controller, which brings us to game compatibility

Game Selection

Most people want a gamepad for their PC to play games, not control media players, although they are also useful for that purpose. The Xbox controller has a major advantage with compatibility, and the same is true for game selection.

Microsoft has produced plenty of games over the years, and with recent acquisitions, you can expect more titles to roll out in the coming years. Many of their titles are PC-friendly and compatible with Xbox consoles. That means their controller is more widely accepted, especially on platforms like Steam.

Halo and other top titles from Microsoft are available on Steam and Xbox Game Pass. You can also use controller profiles designed for the Xbox to play games geared for a keyboard and mouse. You can get profiles for PS5 controllers, but their DualSense capabilities aren’t suited for PC games.

Overall, you will find more Xbox games for PC than Sony titles. That’s due in part to PC Game Pass for Xbox, although Sony recently opened the doors for PC gamers as well. You can play God of War and games like Spider-Man Miles Morales from your PC through Sony’s service, complete with proper controller support. 

Even with PlayStation games on the PC, we still feel Microsoft comes out ahead in this part of our PS5 controller vs. Xbox controller showdown. Despite controller profiles and streaming services, there are simply more games geared for Xbox controllers. 

Price

If you already own an Xbox controller or one of Sony’s DualSense controllers for the PS5, you can skip ahead to the next section. Price won’t be an issue if you own either gamepad, but it should be high on your list otherwise.

Microsoft hasn’t changed much on their controller over the years. If it isn’t broken, why fix it? Gamers have had no complaints, although there are premium models of the Xbox controller with new features. The Elite controller is pricey, although very popular with Xbox gamers. They even have a model billed for Windows PCs that comes with a wireless adapter.

Pricing on their base controllers varies, but you can expect to pay between $50 to $65 for a standard gamepad, depending on the color. The PS5 controller is priced at $70, or a whopping $199 for the DusalSense Edge. Even used PS5 controllers are priced at a premium compared to their Xbox counterparts. 

We don’t recommend buying any custom “console” controller to use on a PC like the Edge or Elite. Those extra bells and whistles are wasted on PCs. That said, the Xbox controller is cheaper in every style and design than the PS5, including the Windows version of Microsoft’s gamepad. 

Battery Life and Charging

One of the more surprising areas for people unfamiliar with these controllers is battery life. Both types of controllers can last through extended gaming sessions, but Sony’s gamepad lags well behind Microsoft’s in several areas.

PlayStation 5 DualSense controllers have built-in lithium-ion batteries. You can recharge them as needed, just like a mobile device, which is incredibly convenient. Unfortunately, those built-in batteries are only good for between 6-12 hours by most accounts. The average is much closer to 5-8 in my experience. 

By comparison, you can squeeze more than 20 hours out of an Xbox controller before you’ll need to top it off. That’s impressive, and the batteries are removable, so you can simply switch them out. You don’t necessarily need to wait for an Xbox controller to recharge unless you’re using a battery pack or rechargeables. 

Features

Both the Xbox and PS5 controllers have great features gamers can appreciate. In fact, Sony’s DualSense PS5 controller is a joy to use. The haptic feedback system takes things to an all-new level when paired with the adaptive triggers. It’s a big step up from the PS4 controller and has one feature that’s fantastic for PC games.

The touchpad on these controllers is handy for keyboard and mouse games and allows you to customize things to a degree, depending on your skills. It’s a controller that’s easy to use once you get the hang of it and very responsive, even on a PC. The traditional Xbox controller doesn’t have a trackpad, but it is ready to roll out of the box.

The Xbox controllers have upgraded the D-Pad and added some texting to the triggers and bumpers, but there are no flagship features to speak of. That’s not a bad thing, however, as they are rock solid and perform as advertised. It’s also important to note that many features, like the trackpad and share buttons are hit or miss on the PC. 

Best
Xbox Core Wireless Controller
$50.57
  • Works with Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PCs, Android, and iOS
  • Connect via USB-C port for direct plug-and-play to console or PC
  • Battery life up to 40 hours
  • Capture and share content using the new Share button
  • Hybrid D-pad and textured grip on triggers, bumpers, and back case
  • Custom button mapping
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02/18/2024 03:38 pm GMT

PS5 Controller vs. Xbox Controller for PC: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • The Xbox controller has better battery life at around 20 hours compared to the PS5 controller’s 6-12.
  • The PS5 controller is typically more expensive than the Xbox controller.
  • There are more PC games geared for Xbox controllers than PS5 controllers.
  • Both the Xbox and PS5 controllers have great features.
  • Xbox controllers are designed to work with PCs that run Windows, but PS5 controllers may need to use a workaround.

PS5 Controller vs. Xbox Controller for PC: Which Is Better?

Some product comparisons are too close to call, but this isn’t one of them. The Xbox controller is the best choice for anyone who wants to game from a PC, and it’s not particularly close. I’ve used and owned both styles and would never consider using a PS5 controller with my rig unless it was specifically for a PlayStation game. 

The Xbox controllers are cheaper, more reliable, and connect to Windows-based PCs seamlessly in most cases. You don’t need special software to sync or configure buttons, and you’ll find more profiles designed for the controllers as well. If you have a PS5 controller, it will work with a PC; you just won’t have the same experience as you would with an Xbox controller.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will an Xbox controller work with a Mac?

Yes, Xbox controllers can connect to Macs.

Are PS4 controllers better for a PC than PS5 controllers?

While subject to debate, some users feel the older PS4 controller is easier to use with a PC than Sony’s newest models.

Can you use old Xbox controllers with a PC?

Classic Xbox controllers work with PCs along with newer models.

Is the Xbox Elite worth it for the PC?

It’s a worthwhile addition if you plan to use it with games that make use of the additional features.

How many types of PS5 controller are there?

Sony manufactures two official controllers; the regular DualSense and DuealSense Edge.

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